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Top Three Tips for Cultivating an Eager Reader

Feb 27, 2008
I've spent a lot of time figuring out how to get kids excited about reading. I wasn't an eager reader when I was a child, and I wanted to offer my students, and my own children, the reading encouragement that I once needed. After getting my master's degree in reading education I felt like I had a new level of preparedness for supplying this encouragement. I discovered some excellent tips for helping children become eager readers. I'd like to share three of my favorites.

The necessity of reading with a young reader is pretty obvious for most. How to get a child excited about his reading time is another matter. Building eagerness to read is a challenge that can be met with a little time, consideration and investment.

One way I've gotten children excited about reading is through the careful selection of reading material. Supplying the right variety, and lots of it, is paramount when you're working to get kids excited to read. Carefully consider your audience and its enthusiasms. Sport lovers get juiced when they can read about soccer, baseball and football too. The proper variety is important. Reading material about sports is available in fiction and non fiction as well as in magazines, newspapers, pamphlets and comic books. Consider creating a library that includes all of these options. Select some books about more unique sports like figure skating for boys, girls wrestling, snowboarding and table tennis. Think outside of the box. Include empty cereal boxes with sport themes in your repertoire. Even the most reticent young readers will work to decipher the back of an appealing cereal box!

Remember that not all kids want to read about sports. Some will get excited about fashion and will spend hours reading a catalogue. Children who like to cook will enjoy a library of recipes they can choose from. Some kids love to collect information inside encyclopedias, world books and books about world records. Mysteries are a favorite among many boys and girls. Mystery books series are great for these children. Word searches, crossword puzzles and books with problems to solve are great for kids who like to look for answers. Get imaginative and you'll find that you'll spark many imaginations. Create a library full of a wide variety of reading material. Expect kids to be excited about reading.

Variety is important, but there's another valuable consideration when selecting reading material: reading level. If a child can't read four words, or more, on a given page they need to be highly motivated to persevere. The goal is to provide the most interesting books that provide the ideal challenge. This means finding high interest level books that are not too easy and not too hard. If you're not sure how to pick books at the right reading level you're not alone. Many people are intimidated by the challenge to find reading material that is right for a child's needs. Luckily, this is a simple challenge to overcome! Teachers, child librarians and home schooling moms are loaded with knowledge and experience in this area. You'll also find that they're very willing to help you out. You need to know how to find the right books for a child. Be brave enough to ask for help. You'll be surprised by how eager people are to give you a hand.

My last tip for helping a child develop an eagerness for reading is my personal favorite: create a cozy reading environment. The corner of a room can be transformed into a reading nook with some throw pillows and a fuzzy blanket. Quiet classical music can be played during special reading times. A child sized rocking chair can gently rock a happy child as they enjoy a book or magazine. A special reading lamp or a big, poofy saucer chair can set just the right mood for enthusiastic reading. Environment matters. Set the stage for eager reading and you'll be surprised by the results you reap. Even the most reluctant reader will open a book if they are properly enticed.

I've taken some time to share ways to build reading eagerness. I've shared because I believe reading success prepares a child for academic success, life success and a lifetime of reading enjoyment. I've also shared because I believe facilitating reading success makes a huge difference in the life of a child. Trust that the time and energy you invest in cultivating an eager reader is worth it. The benefits that are reaped will last a child's lifetime.
About the Author
Alisa E. Clark, an educator for over 10 years with a Master's Degree in Reading Education, reviews and consults with companies and schools districts about the latest tools and programs to enhance student learning. Her web site is at http://www.kidrocker.com.
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